The Denver Post's Troy E. Renck reports the Oakland Athletics acquired outfielder Matt Holliday from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for reliever Huston Street, outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and starting pitcher Greg Smith. The deal is pending physicals by the new Rockies players.
The deal should help both clubs as Colorado receives three quality young players, and Oakland acquired Holliday without depleting their stockpiled farm system.
The argument can be made that Holliday loses fantasy value with his shift to a pitcher-friendly ballpark. He has hit .357 with 84 home runs and 307 RBIs in his career at Coors Field while hitting .280 with 44 home runs and 176 RBIs on the road.
His road numbers aren't bad, and one should expect road numbers to be worse than home numbers, but Holliday also loses protection in the lineup. The Athletics, barring an unforeseen acquisition in free agency, have little proven power outside of designated hitter Jack Cust to protect Holliday in the lineup. Accompanied by the shift to a new league with new pitchers to learn, there are several factors leading to Holliday in line for a dip in statistics for 2009. He probably doesn't warrant being selected in the first two rounds next year.
The Rockies received an impressive package of talent. Gonzalez has the potential to be a star for years to come. The 23-year-old had a down year, both at Triple-A Sacramento and in 302 at-bats upon his promotion to the majors. However, he has the potential to be an all-around threat in Colorado. Look for him to be a nice player to gamble on in the late portions of next year's drafts.
Street had a pretty good year despite losing the closer role and enduring injury troubles in 2008. He had seven wins, amassed another 70-inning season and struck out 69 batters. He had 18 saves but blew seven save chances. Two of those blown saves came in non-conventional save opportunities, though.
He had a strong September with a 1.74 ERA. It will be interesting to see if the Rockies plan to use him as their closer or move forward with former closer Manny Corpas, who lost his job to reliever Brian Fuentes last year. Fuentes is likely to depart in free agency. The team has three more years and two club options invested in Corpas, and he pitched well after losing his job before collapsing with a 6.57 September ERA. Therefore, he may be the front runner for the job. Keep an eye on Street for the late rounds in deep drafts next season if you miss out on low-end closers.
Smith, who will be 25 next season, is a lefty with potential. He had a 3.43 ERA in 18 first-half starts last season and held batters to a .228 batting average. He struck out 74 batters in 110 1/3 innings, but he hit a wall in the second half. He had a 5.18 ERA and struck out just 37 batters in 80 innings. Smith had surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow after the season, which could have been a factor in his struggles. The move to Coors Field definitely could be hazardous because Smith gave up 21 homers last year, and 11 were allowed at home. He probably best serves as a late-round flier next season.
About Ryan Dodson
Dodson is a KFFL Contributor and has been with KFFL since 2002.
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